Day Designer A5 Planner Review: As Functional as it is Beautiful
A5 planners are a category of their own in the planner world, and people who use them really seem to LOVE them. A5 planners are sold by a variety of companies, and each company has its own layout, cover designs, and bonus packs for you to choose from. There’s a lot out there, but Day Designer’s new A5 binder and inserts are one of the newest.
Basically, A5 planner inserts are all the same size and are three-hole-punched. This means you can buy a cover from one company and the inserts from another. You can mix and match in a way you can’t with other planners. However, I think the Day Designer A5 cover and inserts are best paired together. Since I‘ve never used an A5 and this is the first time Day Designer has ever had an A5, this was a completely new experience for me.
Oh You Fancy, Huh?
Like all things Day Designer, this A5 planner is just beautiful and highly organized. It’s exactly what you would expect from them. I got the White Pebble A5 cover. It’s incredibly soft, and I love the simple beauty in it. It feels much fancier than any other planner I’ve held. Actually, it reminds me of a designer purse I used to have.
The inside of the cover is put to use with a ton of pockets—both the front and back covers have them. The front has slots for cards, a large slot for loose papers, and even a zipper pocket for anything you want to keep extra secure. The back cover has two larger pockets more papers and a pen holder right next to the cover strap. Basically, this could function as a wallet and a planner.
Make the A5 Your Own
What I found particularly interesting with the A5 inserts is you decide how it’s organized. You can choose to place your daily pages at the very beginning or the back, be traditional with the entire layout, or have your blank notes pages at the front. And you can change your mind whenever you want. I’m pretty traditional, so I chose to keep the reference calendars at the front, followed by the monthly and daily pages. Then I sectioned off the contact and phone number pages, followed by a section for the “Big To-Do List,” then an expenses section, and ended with the notes and grid paper.
There are also tabs for you to label yourself for the sections you choose. Stickers are included with the A5 starter pack, so you can use the pre-labeled tab stickers or create your own with the blank ones. Since the tabs are also laminated, you can easily remove a sticker if you need to change things around.
Daily & Monthly Pages
The daily and monthly pages in the A5 are a little bit different than those in the Flagship and Flagship Mini. Monthly pages in the A5 have the monthly calendar at the top half of one page and two to-do columns at the bottom. One column is for your personal to-dos and the other is for work or school to-dos.
Even though the monthly day boxes are very small, I really enjoy this layout because it helps to create some separation between work and personal life. I chose to color code the different sections to add more visual separation, but it’s certainly not necessary here.
The daily page has the main components from the Flagship layout. There’s still the Top Three, Dinner, Due, Don’t Forget, and Dollars, a long to-do list next to a long schedule, and the Daily Gratitude. There are also some exciting additions to the layout. First of all, about Dinner, Due, Don’t Forget, and Dollars, there’s an exercise line for you to write down your exercise for the day. It’s right at the top of the page, which is great placement to keep it at the forefront of your mind.
There’s also a water track toward the bottom, beneath the to-do list. Eight little cups represent the amount of water you should drink every day. And below that is a section for you to write down what you’ve eaten that day. Lines marked “B,” “L,” “D,” AND “S” represent the three main meals and any snacks you eat. These additions make the A5 more appealing for anyone who’s health-conscious.
Overall, the A5’s daily pages are very similar to Day Designer’s now-discontinued Today & To Do. The schedule spans 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and each day is dateless. So you won’t waste pages if you end up not needing a planner every single day.
After using this planner for a few days, I have one major piece of advice. Even though I used colored pens on the monthly pages, I used black ink on the daily pages. After I’d gone through and written everything down for the day, I realized the page kind of ran together. The black ink combined with the blank lines of the daily page were too similar to keep everything clear visually, even though the page is highly organized. I switched to color coding, and it was immediately better. Using different colors for the different sections or even different things in your life (like traditional color coding) breaks everything up so you can understand the page better.
Now, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great planner just because I think you shouldn’t use a black pen. It’s still a great planner. It’s just one that will serve you better when you color code.
Along with the calendars and daily pages, the A5 starter pack comes with contacts pages, phone number pages, “Big To-Do List” pages, expense tracking pages, and blank grid pages for you.
Of all of these, my favorite is the Big To-Do list. It’s a great place for you to write down the things you need to do at some point, tasks to get you closer to your goals or project completions, or even bucket list items. These pages are divided into two columns with the same personal and work/school labels as the monthly pages, which is helpful for when you want to transfer them to your actual calendar. The expenses pages are very simple to use. Each row has a spot for the date, the category or description of the expense, the amount of money, and the bottom of the page has a total box.
Just One Real Complaint
The only thing I wish the starter pack included is some goal setting and tracking pages. Goal setting is such a large part of the Flagship and Mini Day Designer that I was surprised it wasn’t included in the A5. That being said, you can still set goals within the planner using the to-do lists and grid paper.
All in all, I like Day Designer’s A5. It’s a smaller planner paperwise, so it’s more challenging for me to write in, but it has several wonderful features. I’m also really into the fact you can buy different supplement packs, like the fitbook pack Day Designer also sells. It’s easy to personalize this planner, and for anyone who loves to tailor things, this is a solid planner option. Plus, the cover is beautiful and can hold so much with all of those pockets.
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Have you ever used an A5? What are your thoughts on Day Designer’s first one? Sound off in the comments!
Last modified on June 1st, 2017
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